Apple has released its new operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch – iOS 5, which includes Apple's new, free, iCloud service.
This is not one of those "should I or shouldn't I" tech decisions. If you own one of these Apple iPxxx portable devices, you want to upgrade to iOS 5. Just know you'll need a few hours to complete the upgrade task.
iOS 5 has more than 200 new features (see a partial list here), and there isn't one I've seen or read about that isn't worth the price of admission – which is, of course, free. I suggest watching Apple's six-minute iOS 5 video to get an idea of what new functions you'll be getting. I outlined what I consider to be the top five features of iOS 5 in "New Apple iPhone 4S Goes on Sale Oct. 14."
Downloading and installing iOS 5
To get iOS 5 on your iPxxx, first download and install the latest version of iTunes, 10.5. You've probably already been prompted to do this via a pop-up window. (If you're a Mac user, you should also upgrade to Mac OS X Lion v10.7.2.)
If you dismissed this iTunes upgrade pop-up window on a Windows PC (silly), first quit iTunes if you have it open. Then, go to:
- Start (the Windows icon in the lower left corner of your screen) –
- Programs –
- Apple Software Update
When the Update window opens, click "Check for New Software" and wait (assuming your PC is connected to the Internet), then follow the instructions. After download and installation, you'll likely have to restart your PC.
On a Mac, click on the Apple icon on the upper left hand corner; the second item is Software Update. As if I needed to tell you.
Downloading and installing iOS 5
Once the new version of iTunes is installed, open it and plug your iPxxx into your PC or Mac; the name of your iPxxx will appear in the left vertical window under Devices. (If you have multiple iOS device plugged in simultaneously, unplug them all, then plug in only the device you're currently updating – apparently iTunes doesn't like have two iOS devices connected during updates.)
If iTunes doesn't immediately prompt you that iOS 5 is available, click on the icon for your iPxxx under Devices, then click on Check for Update in the window in the Summary Tab.
The whole process is almost completely automated – you may have to click "Agree" or "Ok" periodically – but can take more than three hours to complete per iOS device, depending on the speed of your Internet connection. More than half the iOS 5 upgrade time is swallowed by restoring all your content to your iPxxx. If you've got a lot of apps, music, photos, video, etc., on your iPxxx, the longer the update will take.
Also, be ready for a slew of app updates as developers create iOS 5-ready versions. I had 36 app updates waiting for me after I finished upgrading my iPhone 4.
Included in iOS 5 is Apple's iCloud service, which you can read and watch a video about on Apple's site here, or read my overview, "What Apple's iCloud Means For You."
To exploit iCloud's conveniences, you'll have to create an Apple ID, if you don't already have one (if you've ever bought something from iTunes, you have an Apple ID).
To create your iCloud account, Apple ID or no, go to the Apple iCloud site. If you are a current MobileMe subscriber, you'll be asked to move your account over to iCloud. Otherwise, the process is self-exclamatory.
There are some prerequisites for iCloud, however: all your iPxxx devices have to be updated to iOS 5, your Windows PC has to be running either Vista or Windows 7 (sorry, iCloud doesn't play with XP) and, if you have Outlook, it has to be a version 2007 or later.
If you have a Mac, it has to be upgraded to Lion OS X 10.7.2.
I'll have more on iOS 5 and iCloud when I've had a chance to play with both, and on the new iPhone 4S when I get mine on Friday (fingers crossed).